Topix.net Gets Redesign

News aggregator site Topix.net relaunched with a facelift and a new algorithm Monday.

The company has upped the number of news sources it monitors to 7,000 from 3,600, and reorganized the way stories appear on the home page. Topix.net executives say the site uses a new algorithmic story editing technology, which attempts to determine the accurate time of the story and whether the story is “major” or “interesting.”

“Rather than simply averaging together the top stories from the top 10 news outlets, Topix.net is applying a set of editorial rules to guide the story selection process,” said Rick Skrenta, CEO of Topix.net, in an email message.

One part of the home page, called “Live Feed,” is dedicated to un-categorized headlines coming from the company’s news crawler. These are ranked solely in order of their discovery by the crawler.

The redesign is part of Topix.net’s effort to differentiate itself from competitors like Google News, Yahoo News and the MSNBC Newsbot, launched in beta by MSN last week. Topix.net officially launched in March after a soft-launch in January.

As part of the revamp, Topix.net now offers email alerts for the 150,000 topic categories it covers. Topic categories include business, U.S., world, health, autos, science and technology. They also include more than 30,000 U.S. cities and towns, public company and industry verticals, celebrities and musicians, and sports teams.

The company has also created “Full Coverage” sections for major stories, where users can view multiple articles about the same story. Search has also gotten a boost, with RSS feeds now available for each search query.

Topix.net’s revenue mix includes dough from Google AdSense local sponsored listings; conventional banner and skyscraper ads; and paid sponsorships.

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